Broken Arrow Background

Broken Arrow Background

Broken Arrow is director Delmer Daves' 1950 film starring James Stewart as Tom Jeffords, Jeff Chandler as Cochise, and Debra Paget as Sonseeahray. The film follows Stewart's Jeffords as he tries to make peace between Apache Indians and settlers in the new Arizona territory. He is sent out in the face of escalating tensions between the two, tensions that very well may end up in war. When he learns that the Indians only kill people to protect themselves, his mind is changed about them. He not only befriends a Native American; he marries one -- Sonseeahray, played by the aforementioned Paget. The film is a western romance dealing with issues of identity, conflict, and westward expansion.

Upon release in 1950, Broken Arrow was met with incredibly positive reviews. On movie review aggregator Rotten, it holds a critics rating of 89% and an audience rating of 69%. On IMDb, it holds a very respectable rating of 7.2 out of 10 stars. Speaking positively of the film, The New York Times calls it: "A fine and arresting film drama." Critics have also called it the first film since WWII to portray Native Americans in a positive and sympathetic light. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Chandler, Best Screenplay for Albert Maltz, and Best Color Cinematography. It made $3,550,000 in U.S. rentals. The film, however, was controversial because of the Hays Production code, which heavily frowned upon "miscegenation" or cross-ethic relationships.

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